Obituaries

Fr. Michael J. Walsh

Associate pastor

Father Michael J. Walsh, 89, died Dec. 31. He was a former associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Palos Hills.

Born in Chicago, he attended St. Francis de Paula School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1956.

He served as assistant pastor of St. Ambrose; Holy Name of Mary; Santa Maria Del Popolo, Mundelein; Our Lady of Lourdes; and St. Helena of the Cross. He was associate pastor of St. Richard and Sacred Heart, Palos Hills. He retired from active ministry in 2000.

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Sr. Martin Therese Gensler

Educator

School Sister of Notre Dame Martin Therese (Janet) Gensler, 84, died at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox Dec. 13.

Born in Kickapoo, Illinois, Sister Martin Therese was a vowed member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame for 64 years.

She professed first vows in 1955, and took her final vows in 1961.

Sister Martin taught for more than 44 years. Her assignments included primary and intermediate grades at St. Constance and St. Alphonsus in Chicago as well as in other communities in Illinois and Indiana.

At St. Alphonsus, where she served from 1971 to 1992, Sister Martin taught seventh and eighth grades, was the media specialist and served as assistant principal.

Sister Martin moved to Marian Village in Homer Glen in September 2019 and then to Mother Theresa Home in Lemont.

Sr. M. Lourdes Kelly

Educator

Holy Cross Sister M. Lourdes (Anna May) Kelly, 109, died Dec. 19.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, the youngest of 11 children, she entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1935 when her sister, Holy Cross Sister Mary Martha (Elizabeth) Kelly brought her back to the United States with her. Sister Mary Lourdes made her initial profession of vows in 1938.

After a series of bureaucratic mix-ups, she became a citizen of the United States in 1948.

She began her teaching career in 1938, serving at schools throughout Indiana and Illinois. In 1980, she retired to St. Mary’s Convent in Indiana, where she made a daily trip to the grotto at the University of Notre Dame — on foot, if her ride was not on time.

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Sr. Marie Janet Meis

Educator

Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Marie Janet Meis, 94, died Dec. 25 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin.

Born in Iowa, Sister Marie Janet made her first religious profession in 1945 and her perpetual profession in 1948. She taught for 30 years and was principal for 13 years. She served in Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, California and Colorado.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Marie Janet taught at St. Sabina (1945-1951) and St. Brendan (1960-1968).

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Sr. Joanne Podlucky

Educator, communications specialist

Adrian Dominican Sister Joanne (Jessica) Podlucky, 71, died Dec. 25 in Adrian, Michigan.

Born in Pennsylvania, she was in the 52nd year of religious life, 12 years in the Vincentian Sisters of Charity and 40 years in the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

She taught in schools in Pennsylvania, Alabama and Chicago before serving as a communications director and media specialist for the Adrian Dominican Congregation and Mercy Health Services in Farmington Hills, Michigan, as well as for a private media consulting company.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at Presentation (1976-1977) and Precious Blood/Presentation (1977-1978).

She is survived by two sisters, Francine Hill and Carolyn Silka, and two brothers, Joseph Podlucky and Ronald Podlucky.

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Sr. Charles Ellen Turk

Educator

Providence Sister Charles Ellen (Mary Cleophas) Turk, 101, died Dec. 25 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Born in Indiana, Sister Charles Ellen entered the Sisters of Providence in 1936 and professed final vows in 1944.

In her 84 years as a Sister of Providence, she ministered in education for 47 years in schools in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. She served as principal for 15 of those years.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at St. Leo (1938-1939); St. Angela (1939-1941, 1944-1950); St. Mel (1941); and St. Mel-Holy Ghost (1941-1944). She was principal of Mother Theodore Guerin High School, River Grove (1969-1973).

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Sr. Mary Irene Spraley

Educator

Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Mary Irene Spraley, 94, died Nov. 13 in Cincinnati.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, she recently celebrated her 75th year of religious life.

Sister Mary Irene began her 51-year career in education teaching first graders at St. Peter Canisius Parish School (1946-1950). She spent the rest of her teaching career in Ohio.

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Sr. Ann Marie Cwick

Nurse

Holy Family of Nazareth Sister Ann Marie (Patricia Ann) Cwick, 64, died Nov. 21 in Chicago.

Born in Chicago and baptized at St. Adalbert Church, she entered religious life in 1973. She attended Oakton Community College in Des Plaines and St. Mary of Nazareth School of Nursing in Chicago and earned her registered nurse certificate in 1980. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from DePaul University in 1990 and a master’s in pastoral ministry from Catholic Theological Union in 2007.

She ministered for 34 years at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital (now AMITA Health Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center) as a medical-surgical and oncology nurse. She was the last Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth to minister at the hospital, which her congregation founded in 1894.

In her free time, Sister Ann Marie helped in parish ministry at St. Helen, St. Mark, St. Malachy and St. Ann.

In 2014, she began serving as the parish nurse at St. Cornelius, a ministry she continued until she became ill in the summer of 2019.

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Sr. Mary Lois Bartnicki

Educator

Mercy Sister Mary Lois (Leona) Bartnicki, 88, died Nov. 23.

Born in Milwaukee, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in Des Plaines at the age of 17.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Xavier University, and she taught from 1951 to 2001 in parochial elementary schools throughout the dioceses of Milwaukee and Madison in Wisconsin, and Chicago and Peoria in Illinois.

After retirement, she served as a substitute teacher for eight years.

In the summers, she taught religion classes. An athlete at heart, Sister Lois could often be found at church festivals giving lessons on how to play ring toss.

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Sr. Therese Windham

Educator

Mercy Sister Therese (Tarasia) Windham, 87, died Nov. 24 at Mercy Circle.

Sister Therese graduated from Mercy High School in Chicago in 1946 and worked as a sales clerk, typist and tutor before entering the Sisters of Mercy in 1952.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Saint Xavier University in 1957 and began teaching physics, chemistry, math and computer science, mostly in high schools and community colleges in Illinois and Wisconsin.

She earned master’s degrees in physics and computer science after starting her teaching career.

She also participated in the Bible study group at St. Linus Parish for five years.

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